Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

In the case of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), too little (active) thyroid hormones circulate in the blood and in response to this & nbsp; there is an increase in TSH from the pituitary gland. As a growth hormone for the thyroid gland, TSH causes it to enlarge and thus indirectly leads to a higher concentration of thyroid hormones in the blood. The thyroid gland becomes larger so that there is enough thyroid hormone available for the body.

In earlier times, the cause of hypothyroidism was very often an iodine deficiency. Since the iodination of table salt, however, the iodine deficiency has decreased and is now rare. The most common cause of hypothyroidism these days is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimotothyroiditis).

But even after thyroid surgery, radioiodine therapy and some medications, hypothyroidism can occur. Hypothyroidism can also occur with an increased need for thyroid hormones, with vigorous physical activity or during pregnancy.

It is very important for pregnant women - especially in the first few months - to maintain a euthyroid metabolic state (normal thyroid values ​​in the blood) or, in the case of known or new hypothyroidism, to take thyroid hormones (= L-thyroxine) in sufficient doses so that the development of the Embryo remains unaffected. Severe hypothyroidism can lead to severe deformities or even an abortion.

It is equally important that the thyroid function is normal in childhood, otherwise mental and physical retardation or dystrophy can occur here as well.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism are weight gain, hair loss, decreased drive with a depressed mood, cold intolerance, constipation and muscle weakness. The skin appears doughy and the hair is shaggy. Incidentally, a latent hypothyroidism is a common cause of an unfulfilled desire to have children.

The therapy of hypothyroidism consists of an iodine-rich diet in the event of iodine deficiency and a substitution with the hormone substitute L-thyroxine. If the symptoms persist, taking selenium can often be very helpful.